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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
idiom
noun
EXAMPLES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
▪ 'Full of beans' is an idiom which means lively and energetic.
▪ "To be on top of the world" is an idiom that means to be very happy.
▪ In Hollywood, white stars are adopting black idioms, dress styles and manners.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ Coursework and examination questions are an idiom in themselves.
▪ Each language has its own phraseology, its own idiom which rules out many options that are potentially available as grammatical sequences.
▪ It is only the basic spiritual truths which surface time and again, expressed through different idioms.
▪ It takes on something of the character of an idiom.
▪ Oakeshott does not, however, adopt the Hobbesian idiom of social contract.
▪ Often the furore stemmed from audiences' unease at being plugged into a musical idiom shorn of familiar signposts.
▪ Photographs are, certainly, an idiom we are now all used to.
▪ When the text has been transcribed you work through it in order to discover and learn any new words or useful idioms.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Idiom

Idiom \Id"i*om\ ([i^]d"[i^]*[u^]m), n. [F. idiome, L. idioma, fr. Gr. 'idi`wma, fr. 'idioy^n to make a person's own, to make proper or peculiar; fr. 'i`dios one's own, proper, peculiar; prob. akin to the reflexive pronoun o"y^, o'i^, 'e`, and to "eo`s, 'o`s, one's own, L. suus, and to E. so.]

  1. The syntactical or structural form peculiar to any language; the genius or cast of a language.

    Idiom may be employed loosely and figuratively as a synonym of language or dialect, but in its proper sense it signifies the totality of the general rules of construction which characterize the syntax of a particular language and distinguish it from other tongues.
    --G. P. Marsh.

    By idiom is meant the use of words which is peculiar to a particular language.
    --J. H. Newman.

    He followed their language [the Latin], but did not comply with the idiom of ours.
    --Dryden.

  2. An expression conforming or appropriate to the peculiar structural form of a language.

    Some that with care true eloquence shall teach, And to just idioms fix our doubtful speech.
    --Prior.

  3. A combination of words having a meaning peculiar to itself and not predictable as a combination of the meanings of the individual words, but sanctioned by usage; as, an idiomatic expression; less commonly, a single word used in a peculiar sense.

    It is not by means of rules that such idioms as the following are made current: ``I can make nothing of it.'' ``He treats his subject home.''
    --Dryden. ``It is that within us that makes for righteousness.''
    --M. Arnold.
    --Gostwick (Eng. Gram.)

    Sometimes we identify the words with the object -- though by courtesy of idiom rather than in strict propriety of language.
    --Coleridge.

  4. The phrase forms peculiar to a particular author; as, written in his own idiom.

    Every good writer has much idiom.
    --Landor.

  5. Dialect; a variant form of a language.

    Syn: Dialect.

    Usage: Idiom, Dialect. The idioms of a language belong to its very structure; its dialects are varieties of expression ingrafted upon it in different localities or by different professions. Each county of England has some peculiarities of dialect, and so have most of the professions, while the great idioms of the language are everywhere the same. See Language.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
idiom

1580s, "form of speech peculiar to a people or place," from Middle French idiome (16c.) and directly from Late Latin idioma "a peculiarity in language," from Greek idioma "peculiarity, peculiar phraseology," from idioumai "to appropriate to oneself," from idios "personal, private," properly "particular to oneself," from PIE *swed-yo-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (cognates: Sanskrit svah, Avestan hva-, Old Persian huva "one's own," khva-data "lord," literally "created from oneself;" Greek hos "he, she, it;" Latin suescere "to accustom, get accustomed," sodalis "companion;" Old Church Slavonic svoji "his, her, its," svojaku "relative, kinsman;" Gothic swes "one's own;" Old Norse sik "oneself;" German Sein; Old Irish fein "self, himself"). Meaning "phrase or expression peculiar to a language" is from 1620s.

Wiktionary
idiom

n. 1 (context now rare English) A manner of speaking, a way of expressing oneself. 2 A language or dialect. 3 Specifically, a particular variety of language; a restricted dialect used in a given historical period, context etc. 4 An artistic style (for example, in art, architecture, or music); an instance of such a style. 5 An expression peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language, especially when the meaning is illogical or separate from the meanings of its component words. 6 (context programming English) A programming construct or phraseology generally held to be the most efficient or elegant means to achieve a particular result or behavior.

WordNet
idiom
  1. n. a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language [syn: parlance]

  2. the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people; "the immigrants spoke an odd dialect of English"; "he has a strong German accent" [syn: dialect, accent]

  3. the style of a particular artist or school or movement; "an imaginative orchestral idiom" [syn: artistic style]

  4. an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up [syn: idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, set phrase, phrase]

Wikipedia
Idiom (disambiguation)

An idiom is an expression with a figurative meaning.

Idiom may also refer to:

  • Idiom (structural nature of language)
  • Instrumental idiom, a concept in music
  • Programming idiom, a concept in computer science
  • Idiom Island, an island in Montana in the Yellowstone River
  • Idiom, a company acquired by SDL PLC
Idiom

An idiom (, "special property", from , "special feature, special phrasing, a peculiarity", f. , "one’s own") is a phrase or a fixed expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. An idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms, and they occur frequently in all languages. It is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language. Idioms fall into the category of formulaic language.

EXAMPLES: The following sentences contain idioms. The fixed words constituting the idiom in each case are bolded:

1. She is pulling my leg. - to pull someone's leg means to tease them by telling them something untrue. 2. When will you drop them a line? - to drop someone a line means to send a note to or call someone. 3. You should keep an eye out for that. - to keep an eye out for something means to maintain awareness of it so that you notice it as it occurs. 4. I can't keep my head above water. - to keep one's head above water means to manage a situation. 5. It's raining cats and dogs. - to rain cats and dogs means to rain very heavily (a downpour). 6. Oh no! You spilled the beans! / you let the cat out the bag - to spill the beans means to let out a secret. 7. Why are you feeling blue? - to feel blue means to feel sad. 8. That jacket costs an arm and a leg. – an arm and a leg means a large amount of money. 9. It is not rocket science. – not rocket science means something is not difficult. 10. Put a cork in it. - put a cork in it is an another way to say, "shut up!" (another idiom), be quiet, and stop talking. 11. I'm screwed. - ''to be screwed '' means that one is doomed, is in big trouble, or has really messed up. 12. I bet and/or I'll bet. - I bet and I'll bet are sarcastic ways of saying "certainly" or "of course".

Each of the word combinations in bold has at least two meanings: a literal meaning and a figurative meaning. Such expressions that are typical for a language can appear as words, combinations of words, phrases, entire clauses, and entire sentences.

l. The devil is in the details. m. The early bird gets the worm. n. Break a leg. o. Waste not, want not. p. Go take a chill pill. q. I have butterflies in my stomach.

Expressions such as these have figurative meaning. When one says "The devil is in the details", one is not expressing a belief in demons, but rather one means that things may look good on the surface, but upon scrutiny, undesirable aspects are revealed. Similarly, when one says "The early bird gets the worm", one is not suggesting that there is only one worm, rather one means there are plenty of worms, but for the sake of the idiom one plays along, and imagines that there is only one worm; alternatively, the figurative translation of this phrase is that the most attentive and astute individual, or perhaps the hardest working (or simply the first one) gets the desired outcome to a situation or the better product, depending on the context. On the other hand, "Waste not, want not" is completely devoid of a figurative meaning. It counts as an idiom, however, because it has a literal meaning and people keep saying it.

Idiom (language structure)

Idiom is "the syntactical, grammatical, or structural form peculiar to a language". Idiom is the realized structure of a language, as opposed to possible but unrealized structures that could have developed to serve the same semantic functions but did not.

Language structure (grammar and syntax) is often inherently arbitrary and peculiar to a particular language or a group of related languages. For example, although in English it is idiomatic (accepted as structurally correct) to say "cats are associated with agility", other forms could have developed, such as "cats associate toward agility" or "cats are associated of agility". Unidiomatic constructions sound solecistic to fluent speakers, although they are often entirely comprehensible. For example, the title of the classic book English As She Is Spoke is easy to understand (its idiomatic counterpart is English As It Is Spoken), but it deviates from English idiom in the gender of the pronoun and the inflection of the verb. Lexical gaps are another key example of idiomaticness.

Usage examples of "idiom".

The pronunciation was barbarously alien, whilst the idiom seemed to include both scraps of curious archaism and expressions of a wholly incomprehensible cast.

Boston the idiom of choice for the male sex-organ is: Unit, which is why Ennet House residents are wryly amused by E.

My preface was in French, but full of Parisian idioms which rendered it unintelligible to all who had not visited the gay capital, and this circumstance gained me a good many friends amongst the younger generation.

Crebillon three visits every week, and from him I learned all I know of the French language, but I found it impossible to get rid of my Italian idioms.

But if the French laughed at my mistakes in speaking their language, I took my revenge amply by turning some of their idioms into ridicule.

Rough plaster walls, uneven red paver tiles underfoot, and exposed timbers over their heads placed them solidly in the Southwest idiom of architecture, even without the bright rug on one wall and a collection of Indian pottery arranged on a shaky-looking table, little more than lashed-together branches topped by unsanded planks.

Southwest idiom of architecture, even without the bright rug on one wall and a collection of Indian pottery arranged on a shaky-looking table, little more than lashed-together branches topped by unsanded planks.

My grasp of idiom is insecure or at least it does not have the fluidity which Scop himself has developed but it will do, it will do, my purposes at least are made clear to him in the sudden shifting of his features.

Although Rochelle adapted English idioms to Agro, the language itself followed a form patterned after languages of Latin derivation.

And to the popular and to the liturgical chants they went in search of their proper idiom.

Nonetheless, Franks considered himself an innovator, and had fashioned a unique idiom that was part military theory, part country.

Homer, should not leave some gloss of grecism upon the idiom into which so many of its greatest beauties had been transfused.

In fact, so great is the number of these words, idioms, phrases, and terms of speech derived from Guarani, that Dr.

He succeeded in mastering the idiom and the intonation of this foreign tongue, and his Parnassian accent can be discerned only by a trained ear.

Yet the positive institutions of the kings had blended themselves with the public and private manners of the city, some fragments of that venerable jurisprudence were compiled by the diligence of antiquarians, and above twenty texts still speak the rudeness of the Pelasgic idiom of the Latins.